Fix: MS Family Account Screen Time Limits not Working

Microsoft Family Safety might not work if the OS of your system is outdated or your child is using a hack to overcome the restrictions. Moreover, the corrupt user profile may also cause the error under discussion.

The issue is that the screen time limitations applied on the child account are not effective (or reverts to the previous settings) and the child keeps on using the system even the time limit has lapsed. The user gets the over usage idea when he gets the Family Safety report.

MS Family Account Screen Time Limits not Working

Before moving on with the solutions, make sure to use one schedule for all devices. Keep in mind that today’s kids are smarter than the earlier generations, so, they keep on finding new ways to circumvent the parental control restrictions. That’s why you, as a parent, should be more vigilant to check if your child is using some hack to bypass the restrictions.

Solution 1: Update Windows of Your PC to the Latest Release

Microsoft release new updates for its OS to satiate the continuous technological advancements and patch the reported bugs such as the one causing the issue at hand. In this context, updating the Windows of your PC to the latest release may solve the problem.

  1. Update your PC to the latest release of the Windows OS. Make sure, no optional or additional update is pending.
  2. Then check if the Microsoft Family issue is resolved.

Solution 2: Uninstall the Conflicting Applications

You may encounter the error at hand if any of the installed applications on your system are hindering the operation of the Microsoft Family features. In this case, removing the conflicting applications may solve the problem. One such application reported causing the issue is SAntivirus Realtime Protection.

  1. Hit the Windows key and open Settings.
  2. Now open Apps and expand SAntivirus Realtime Protection.
    Open Apps in the Windows Settings
  3. Then click on Uninstall and confirm to Uninstall (when prompted) the SAntivirus Realtime Protection.
  4. Now reboot your PC and then check if the Microsoft Family features are working fine.

Solution 3: Configure the UAC and Other System Settings

There are some settings (like UAC set to its default) that are essential for the operation of the MS Family Safety and if not configured as required by the Family Safety, may cause the error at hand. In this case, configuring the UAC and other settings as per Family Safety requirements may solve the problem.

  1. Click in the Windows Search on the Taskbar and search for User Account Control. Then select Change User Account Control Settings.
    Open User Account Control Settings
  2. Now move the slider on the left to select Always Notify and click on OK.
    Change UAC to Always Notify
  3. Again, open the Windows Search (as in step 1) and type Diagnostics & Feedback Settings. Then select Diagnostics & Feedback Settings.
    Open Diagnostics & Feedback Settings
  4. Now, under Feedback Frequency, change the dropdown of Windows Should Ask for My Feedback to Never and then, under Diagnostic and Usage Data, change the dropdown of Send Your Device Data to Microsoft as Enhanced (or Full).
    Set Send Your Device Data to Microsoft to Enhanced
  5. Again, open the Windows Search (as in step 1) and type Reputation-Based Protection.
    Open Reputation-Based Protection Settings
  6. Then select Reputation-Based Protection and then enable all the options there.
    Enable All the Options of Reputation-Based Protection Settings
  7. Again, open the Windows Search (as in step 1) and type Background Apps.
    Open Background Apps
  8. Then select Background Apps and make sure that Microsoft Edge is allowed to operate in the background.
    Allow Microsoft Edge to Operate in Background
  9. Now reboot your PC and check if the Family Safety issue is resolved.
  10. If not, repeat steps 1 to 2 but change the UAC to Notify Me Only When Apps Try to Make Changes to My Computer and then check if the MS Family Screen Time is working fine.
    Set UAC to Notify Me Only When Apps Try to Make Changes to My Computer

Solution 4: Delete the Parental Controls Settings

The MS Family screen time might fail to implement its restrictions if the configuration file of Parental Control Settings is corrupt due to which the online Family Safety server could not write values to the file. In this case, removing these files (the files will be recreated with the online server restrictions) may solve the problem. You may have to enable viewing of the hidden and protected system files.

  1. Log in to the system with an administrator or parental account on the child’s PC.
  2. Now. right-click on the Windows button and select Run.
    Open the Run Command
  3. Then navigate to the following path:
    %ProgramData%
    Open the ProgramData Folder
  4. Now open the Microsoft folder and then the Windows folder.
  5. Then open the Parental Controls folder and delete all the contents (either files or folders) there. If you have set up the Family Safety on more than one machine, you can copy the Parental Controls files from a working computer to the problematic computer.
    Open the Parental Controls Folder in ProgramData
  6. Now, reboot your PC and then check if the MS Family Safety is working fine.

Solution 5: Verify and Activate the Child’s Account

The Family Safety Screen Time limitations might not work on the child’s account if his account is not verified or activated. In this case, verifying and activating the child’s account may solve the problem.

  1. Press the Windows key and open Settings.
  2. Now, select Accounts and in the Your Info tab, click on Verify (under You Need to Verify Your Identity on This PC) and follow the instructions to complete the process. If the Verify option is not there, then check if a Fix option is present in the Email & Accounts tab. If so, then use it to fix the account issue.
    Verify Your Microsoft Identity on the PC
  3. Then check if the Family Safety issue is resolved.

If you cannot see the verify option on step 2, then follow the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows key and type Mail. Then select Mail.
    Open the Mail App
  2. Now check if there is a Fix Account prompt on the top of the Mail window. If so, click on it and follow the instructions to complete the process to check if it solves the issue.

If the issue is still there, then you may probably have to activate the child’s account.

  1. Navigate to the Your Info tab (steps 1 to 2 discussed above) in the Account Settings and then, in the right pane of the window, click on Manage My Microsoft Account.
    Open Manage My Microsoft Account
  2. Then, in the browser, sign-in using your Microsoft Credentials.
  3. Now close the browser and reboot your PC to check if the Screen Time is working fine.
  4. If not, then repeat steps 1 & 2 to open your Microsoft Account in the browser and enter your Credit Card info to pay 50 cents to activate your child’s account.
  5. Then check if the Family Safety Screen Time is working fine.

Solution 6: Remove/Re-Add the Screen Times and Child Account

The issue could be a result of a communication glitch between the Microsoft Family Safety server and your PC. In this scenario, removing/readding the screen times may clear the glitch and thus solve the problem.

  1. Launch a web browser and navigate to your account page.
  2. Now open Family and click on Screen Time under the problematic account.
    Open Family in the Microsoft Account Settings
  3. Then select a Time Slot and click on Remove.
    Remove the Time Slot
  4. Repeat the same to remove all the time slots and then exit the browser.
  5. Now reboot the problematic system and then re-add the time slots.
  6. Again, reboot the problematic PC and check if the Screen Time issue is resolved.
  7. If not, then check if removing and readding the child account to your family solves the issue.

Solution 7: Change the Account Type of the User

The MS Family Screen Time Limitations might not work if the child’s account type is of an administrator nature as the Family limitations do not apply to the administrator accounts. In this context, changing the account type of the child to standard or guest may solve the problem. If the child’s account is an Active Directory account, then you may have to create another account for the child (solution 8).

  1. Log in as an administrator on the child’s system. Then, right-click on the Windows button and choose Computer Management.
    Open Computer Management
  2. Now, expand Local Users and Groups (in the left half of the window). Then select Users and in the right pane, right-click on the child account.
  3. Now select Properties and navigate to the “Member of” tab.
    Open Properties of the Child’s Account
  4. Then select Administrator and click on Remove.
    Remove the Account from the Administrator Group
  5. Repeat the same to remove all the user groups from the tab.
  6. Now, click on Add (near the bottom of the screen) and then on the Advanced button.
    Open Advanced in the Select Groups Dialogue Box
  7. Then click on Find Now button and double-click on Guests.
    Add Account to the Guests Group
  8. Now click on the OK button and repeat the same to add the Child to the Users group.
  9. Then click on Apply/OK buttons and reboot the child’s PC.
  10. Upon reboot, check if the MS Family Safety is working fine.

Solution 8: Create a New User Account for the Child

The Family Safety Time limitations might not work if the user profile of your child account is corrupt. In this scenario, creating a new user account for the child may solve the problem.

  1. Create a new local user account for the child on his machine. Make sure the child’s account is a member of the standard or guest group (not an administrator).
  2. Now, login to the system using the newly created local account. Then press the Windows key and open Settings.
  3. Now open Accounts and click on Sign-in With a Microsoft Account.
    Sign-In With a Microsoft Account Instead
  4. Then log in using the child’s credentials and check if the Family Safety Time limitations are in-place.

Solution 9: Use the Registry Editor

If a child enables the battery saver on his system, then he may overcome the Family Screen Time limitations. In this case, using the Registry Editor to block the user from enabling the Battery Saver (till the system’s battery is at 15%) may solve the problem. But keep in mind, after applying these settings, even the system’s administrator could not enable the battery saver unless he reverts the settings.

  1. Sign in to the user’s device with an administrator account.
  2. Hit the Windows key and search for Group Policy. Then select Edit Group Policy.
    Open Group Policy Editor
  3. Then, in the left pane, expand
    Computer Configuration>>Administrative Templates>>System>>Power Management>> Energy Saver Settings
  4. Now, in the right pane, double-click on Energy Saver Battery Threshold (on Battery) and click on Enabled.
    Double Click on Energy Saver Battery Threshold (on Battery)
  5. Then set the value of Energy Saver Battery Threshold (Percent) to 15%.
    Set the Value of Energy Saver Battery Threshold (Percent) to 15%
  6. Now click on Apply/OK buttons and close the Group Policy Editor.
  7. Then check if the Screen Time issue is resolved.

If your system does not have a Group Policy Editor (e.g., Windows 10 Home), then follow the steps below:

  1. Launch an elevated Command Prompt on the child’s PC and execute the following:
    reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Power\PowerSettings\E69653CA-CF7F-4F05-AA73-CB833FA90AD4 /v DCSettingIndex /t REG_DWORD /d 15
  2. Now reboot the PC and check if the Screen Time issue is resolved.
  3. If, in the future, you want to remove this setting, then execute the following in an elevated Command Prompt:
    reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Power\PowerSettings\E69653CA-CF7F-4F05-AA73-CB833FA90AD4 /v DCSettingIndex

If the issue is still there, then you can try an application/game time limit. Till the issue is resolved, you can lock the child by using the online portal by opening Screen Time and toggle the PC Screen Time Limits to on position which will force the kid out of his system.

Enable PC Screen Time Limits

If you are still encountering the issue, then you may have to try a 3rd party application (like KidsWatch, Qustodio, Norton Family, etc.)

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: MS Family Account Screen Time Limits not Working

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